It’s always good to break into the win column.
After a tough season opener against Wisconsin Heights, the Marshall volleyball team added six wins to their total, defeating the Cambridge Blue Jays in Tuesday’s home contest, followed by wins at New Glarus and the Red Knight Classic at Milwaukee Lutheran.
Marshall scored the first four points of the match, foreshadowing what was to come. The Cardinals controlled the match against Cambridge, sweeping the Blue Jays in three sets.
After gaining a five-point advantage, Marshall never trailed in the first set, although Cambridge did make a comeback to tie the set at 14. From there, Marshall closed on an 11-3 run – including the final seven points – to seal a 25-17 first-set victory.
Set number two played about nearly the same way as the first set did; Marshall built a 10-3 lead early to seize control. Though the Blue Jays refused to go away, they never came closer than three points, the latest point at 22-19. Marshall then took three of the following five points to take the second set 25-21.
Cambridge found a sense of urgency in the third set, though. After the Cardinals took a quick 2-0 lead, the Blue Jays took five of the next six points to build their first substantial lead of the night.
Marshall clawed their way back, and eventually tied the score at 10 midway through. From there, though, Cambridge took six of the next seven points to go up 16-11. With the Blue Jays up five points, the teams went back to trading points; Marshall still trailed by five with the score 21-16.
“It felt like more than five or six points,” said Marshall’s Head Coach Christina Schmitz. “The girls really got into their own head, but they pulled their way out and played to win rather than not to lose. That’s how they pulled it out.”
With Skyla Michalak serving, Marshall started their comeback. The Cardinals scored the next three points, cutting Cambridge’s lead to 21-19.
An Anna Lutz kill finally tied the score at 23, and Marshall was poised to put the match on ice. After one more point, the Cardinals did just that, forcing Cambridge into a match-ending mistake; Marshall took the third and final set 25-23.
“I ran with a little different lineup for the last two sets,” added Schmitz. “They still played and got better. That last game, they didn’t lose; they fought back… Really good team win.”
Kiana Hellenbrand led the Cardinals in both kills with 10 and blocks with three. Aubrie Kappes was tops on the team in digs with 11, followed by Hellenbrand with nine.
Marshall then hit the road for their first road contest of the season at New Glarus on Thursday.
New Glarus 2
In a back-and-forth match, Marshall ultimately got the best of the host Glarner Knights on Thursday in a tight five-set contest.
After New Glarus took the first set of the contest 25-20, the Cardinals got on a roll, taking sets two and three to go up two sets to one. A Glarner Knight victory in the fourth set, however, sent the match to a decisive fifth set.
In the shorter fifth set, Marshall took care of business, winning 15-11 to give the Cardinals a 2-1 record in the Capitol South.
Hellenbrand led the team in kills with 16, followed by Trinity Flint with 12. Hellenbrand also recorded four aces in the match. Isabella Llontop was tops for Marshall in digs with 20, and Michalak recorded 45 assists on the night.
Red Knight Classic
The Cardinals took the top spot during Saturday’s classic at Milwaukee Lutheran, avenging a pool-play loss to Grafton by defeating the Black Hawks in the first-place match.
For the Cardinals, pool play started with a 17-25, 25-23, 15-10 win over South Milwaukee and a 25-17, 25-14 victory over Port Washington. This led to the Cardinals’ first match of the day with Grafton, which the Black Hawks took 25-17, 25-21.
“We lost our energy during our pool play game against Grafton,” said Schmitz.
Still, Marshall got the chance for revenge by beating Markesan 25-15, 25-23 in bracket play, lifting them into the first-place match against Grafton.
Once there, the Black Hawks took set number one 25-20, but the Cardinals stormed back by taking set number two 25-17 to force a final set to determine the tournament’s champion. Marshall pulled out a close third set 15-12 to take home the title.
For the tournament, Hellenbrand led the team in kills with 39, followed by Lutz with 33. Kappes was best on the team in aces with 10 and digs with 42, while Lutz led the team with 11 blocks. Michalak recorded 104 assists on the day, as well.